The Indian kayaking and canoeing team have all but missed their chance to qualify for 2021 Tokyo Olympics after they failed to travel to Thailand for the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament. The travel ban imposed by other countries on flights from India has been a major setback for the athletes.
The second wave of Covid-19 in India has already claimed the lives of thousands and the situation is not getting better. Amid the pandemic, sports activities in the country have been scrapped; including the 2021 India Open Super 500, along with various national camps where Tokyo-bound athletes were set to complete their preparations.
On the other hand, several countries have also imposed ban on flights from India, which means the athletes cannot travel abroad for qualifying tournaments. The Indian kayaking and canoeing teams became the latest victims as they were barred from travelling to Thailand for the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament after their government disallowed incoming passengers from India.
"It's over. All we can say is that it was sheer bad luck. As we were making arrangements to board the flight to Thailand on April 16, things started becoming complicated. We made desperate attempts to fly out of India last week, but fresh travel guidelines issued by the Thailand government to ban the entry of Indians spoiled the show," said national team coach Pijush Baroi, from Bhopal.